It was a cat, not a bomb, parents tell their children in Landhi

Published: January 26, 2013

Saeed holds his son Ayan. He told him that the bomb was actually just a cat being beaten on the roof. They stand in their alleyway in Sherpao Colony, Landhi. PHOTO: MAHIM MAHER/EXPRESS

Someone beat a cat on the roof. This was the explanation Saeed gave his tiny son on Thursday night.

“Billi ko kisi ne mara.”

(Somebody hit a cat.)

Ayaan, who prefers chewing the handle of his rattle to the rattle itself, was one of the hundreds of children who heard or saw the bombs that went off just a stone’s throw from their Landhi homes in Sherpao Colony. Saeed came back from work as a part-time cook in DHA to find the three year old clinging to his mother and running a fever.

“It was just a cat. Just a cat,” he kept repeating.

Ayaan’s four-year-old cousin, however, has been begging her mother to take them some place far away. She doesn’t care if it was a cat.

The double bombing which killed three people isn’t much news the day after. The grenade happened first, and when people rushed to the spot, an IED went off. It was hidden in a ground covered by smoldering garbage at the edge of the neighbourhood that borders a graveyard.

This is the mini landfill site where the bombs went off, one a grenade and one an IED, hidden in the garbage. On Friday, the ground next to it was filled with kids from the colony playing cricket.

At two separate points the graveyard’s boundary wall is peppered with marks from the shrapnel. Most of the pieces have been since removed and some people have already packed dirt into the crevices.

The wall of the graveyard next to the garbage dump which took the brunt of the first or second explosion in Landhi’s Sherpao Colony on Thursday

The garbage dump was a good place to put the bomb. A large craggy pit is being slowly filled with the garbage, which according to one resident will be used to level it so they can build over. The only problem is that the pir of a mazaar at the end of the depression claims one acre and doesn’t want the settlement to spread right up to his doorstep.

A cricket ball flies over from one of the dozen or so games being played and lands in the pit. Two young men go after it. It is a day off for Eid Miladun Nabi and everyone is out to play.

“Yeah, you’re CID, you tell her who planted the bomb,” says one of the boys to take a jab at a buddy.

His friend sidles away from the group that has gathered around, keen to recount what happened.

The children skip ahead to show the way to Humair’s house. He lives just a stone’s throw from the crime scene and was injured in the second explosion. The Landhi neighbourhood is mostly filled with Pashto speaking families from Abbottabad, Hazaaras, from Battgram.

A rickshaw weaves through the wickets to stop at a doorway in the nearest alley. Humair has come home from the hospital. He was caught in the second bombing.

The nine-year-old has a canulla taped to his wrist and a dazed look in his eye.

Humair was injured in the second IED explosion on Rehri Road near Sherpao Colony. He just returned from the hospital on Friday.

He was walking down the slope of the graveyard’s wall with 2kg of sugar and 1kg of flour when the second bomb went off.

In this neighbourhood most of the men are out during the day at work and only the more aware young boys go out to get the groceries because the women observe purdah.

“I’m never going to get groceries again,” he says.

PHOTOS: MAHIM MAHER

Read more by Mahim here or follow her on Twitter @Mahim_Maher 

mahimmaher

Mahim Maher

The editor for the Karachi city pages at The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Aijaz Haider

    Nice read – thanks.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Nice way to draw attention to something that needs attention…………but sadly is being treated as a 24 hr news flash.Recommend

  • crap

    The first caption says the cat was being heated on the roof….I don’t think this was a good explanation. or should it be beaten(ed?)?Recommend

  • zulfiqar Ali s

    Oh nice, heart touching, appreciated.Recommend

  • kiran

    its so sad, that we take these things so normally. like no big deal? too strong or too coward?
    Wish we could do something about it.Recommend

  • stranger

    Life goes on .Hats off to these people who are getting on with their lives in times of turmoil hoping for an end .Recommend

  • sars

    umm why is beating a cat an acceptable thing?Recommend

  • TrollWatch

    @sars: I really hope you’re just trolling. A parent soothes his traumatized child after a bomb blast, and all you can do is bemoan the implicit acceptance of cruelty to animals? What even is the pertinence of a term like “cruelty to animals” in a context where young children are witness to bombings?
    And yes, beating a cat is more acceptable than setting off a bomb. Blunt though that is.Recommend

  • sars

    The point is that a society that feels that cruelty to animals is acceptable is also one that accepts cruelty to other weaker beings ( mentally retarded, women, wives, females, children etc). maybe this is one of the reasons we live in such an intolerant and violent society.Recommend

  • ayza abid

    Not only is the range of violence extensive, so is the trauma. This nation is slipping into despair and mental illnesses. Denial will only increase the problem. Psychologists, psychiatrists and educationists need to take immediate action. Raising security levels, posting soldiers and barriers is a treatment, not the cure. A mental health policy involving psychologists which are numerous in every university actively helping people in schools, hospital (emergency dept) governmental setups is desperately needed. Recommend